Sometimes when I think I’d try anything once, I think back to my post about foods such as the Norwegian Hakari Shark Delicacy, or the others I’ve come across since then, and I realize that hey, I’m not Andrew Zimmern. I don’t have to be game to try literally anything once. And I sit back, resting assured of the truth that I will try most things once, and hey man, that’s good enough for me. Okay?
And then I realize as I’m researching that Whitebait is probably one of those foods that I wouldn’t even try. Not even once.
Basically, it’s eaten in a lot of different parts of the world. Australia, New Zealand, China, Italy and maybe most commonly in England. The recorded eating of whitebait in England dates all the way back to 1612. So what the heck is it? you may be wondering. Well, you’ve come to the right place, my friend, because I’m going to tell you!
Whitebait is just that – those little baby white fish that haven’t matured yet that swim around together like a cute little clique and are often used as bait. Minnows, if you will. They can be a variety of different types of fish, but are commonly baby sardines or anchovies. And they are basically breaded and deep-friend, whole. And to eat them, you pop the whole thing in your mouth and eat it like a little french fry.
It’s probably silly of me, because now that I think about it, I mean, it probably tastes frickin’ great. And from what I know about using sardines in cooking, often when you have the canned ones, they pretty much just melt away in a hot pan until there’s nothing left but salty goodness. But it’s just that I can’t get over the whole eyeballs, brains and all thing. Ya know what I mean?
What do you think? Would you eat these fried little baby fishies??
But if eating little baby fishies, eyeballs and all, seems like it’s your thing, well then have at it. Here’s a recipe by Nigella Lawson that gotten exactly one good review in the last year! Seems we’re all a bit squeamish…
Nigella Lawson’s Fried Whitebait Recipe
Vegetable oil, for frying
18 ounces whitebait
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh curly parsley
lemon wedges, for plating
Heat the oil for frying in a deep-fat fryer to about 375 degrees F.
Put the whitebait and the seasoned flour into a plastic bag, and toss everything around to coat the fish.
Shake the excess flour by turning out the whole bag into a metal sieve, and then plunge the little fishes into the oil. Cook for about 3 minutes or until they look crispy and tempting.
Turn them out onto paper towels, and while the fish are losing any excess oil (we want desirable crunch) throw in a small handful of parsley leaves to deep-fry; watch out, it will spit. (A splatter guard is useful. Not charming, but useful.) When they have turned a very dark green, drain and serve with the whitebait, well sprinkled with sea salt and surrounded with lemon wedges.